Wednesday was my fasting day. It had been almost 24 hours since I had eaten and it was time to hit the weights. It was one of my squat days among other things. As I looked at my workout log from last week I immediately began to come up with reasons why I couldn’t or wouldn’t beat last week’s weight, actually I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with last week. After all, I told myself, I hadn’t eaten since the evening before, if I just went easy it would be totally excusable. I even promised myself that I would make it up on Thursday when I had eaten more. “Yeah, that’s it! I’ll kick its ass tomorrow!”
Right about then my alpha self chimed in. “If not now, then when?” My alpha self told me to push it, work throught the pain, the weakness, the fatigue, the hunger. “Don’t take a single step back.” I resolved that I would, at the very least, not lift less than last week. I would grind through it. I lifted the first set, not bad. The second set was better, I felt myself getting aggressive, I felt the drive to win come back, I added weight. By the third and fourth set I was up on weight and could feel, that I had more in me. More weights went on the bar. Now I was pumped! I felt newfound stamina and energy pumping through my veins. I switched to sets of one rep and loaded on the bar. I kept going, beating last week was no problem.
Our nature is to seek the easy route. If we could cruise through life in an easy chair we would be tempted to do that. We are tempted, but experience shows us that we would be completely unfulfilled. Take a look around. See the vast majority of guys out there? They are the ones who opted for the easy chair, they chose it. That is not for us. What do most guys live for today? The weekend? Your “two weeks paid vacation”? Getting plastered on Friday night watching tv, then getting up at 11am hung over on Saturday morning?
For us, leisure time is a reward for hard work but it is also preparation for taking things to the next level. For an alpha male, the classical man, leisure time is controlled, every minute is enjoyed because it is the fruit of his hard work, whether it be business, training or both. We push to succeed and to excel. Our pursuits, including leisure, make us better men. I am a better man today than I was before working out yesterday.
In letters to his son, Lord Chesterfield had the following to say both about leisure and hard work: “In short, pleasure must not, nay, cannot be the business of a man of sense and character; but it may be, and is, his reward.” Furthermore, Aristotle himself tells us; “Happiness then, cannot consist in mere recreative pastime: for it is absurd to think that all our serious exertions and strenuous labors should terminate in so frivolous an end. We do not labor that we may be idle….we are idle that we may labor with more effect…”.
What are some things that we can do to right now to make our lives more productive, and start reaping some rewards?
Working out is such a pure form of masculine character building. The weights do not lie, they are pure: you lift them or you don’t. There are no excuses. There is no; “could have, should have, would have”, you give it your all or you don’t. The weights don’t care who you are, where you come from, where you are going. I highly suggest reading “The Iron” by Henry Rollins.
Coupled with working out we choose to eat right. It takes discipline and control to choose healthy eating to that piece of cake or to not go out drinking with your buddies. We don’t really deny ourselves, we just choose a higher level of life, we choose those things that will only make us stronger. Then, at some point, we can reward our hard work and have some cake, or go out with our buddies for some beers. We work first, reward later. The reward is always smaller in proportion to the amount of work.
We manage our time wisely. If you are new to this, it means eliminating television from your life. I don’t mean throw it out, but stop watching it. Use your television only to watch things that motivate you, movies that show strong masculine leads. Don’t watch “chick flicks” and don’t watch network T.V. We determine our own schedules. We must control our schedules, or else we risk loosing ourselves.
It is essential for a man to have a passion in life. Are you passionate for your current job? Are you passionate about working for someone else and making them money? Of course, an alpha man has a work ethic and strives to excel and be the top dog where he is at, but eventually the call of the wild will need to be answered. He will need to devote his time to those things that he is passionate about. One of these things will be his own entrepreneurship. One of the many benefits of being an alpha male is that our passions overlap with those things that build us up as well. We become passionate about weight lifting, martial arts, business, learning, and sport just to name a few. Since we live a life of purpose, we love the things that we do. In fact, we love the man that we are becoming.
There are two primary methods of discipline that we encounter. The first and lesser of the two is external discipline. External discipline is a form of discipline exerted from outside of us. This is the discipline instilled by our parents when we were boys. This was the discipline of school, the military and of religious practices. These types of discipline are all good and necessary. They are, in fact, essential in providing the foundation for the higher form of discipline which is internal. Internal discipline is the higher of the two forms because it takes work, it takes daily struggle. It takes adaptation, trial and error, pain, frustration and sacrifice. It develops true leadership because no one else imposes it on us, we freely choose it.
Both external and internal discipline reap rewards. Learning and being reared in external discipline lays the foundation for and acceptance of internal discipline. We learn and absorb from external sources and then make them our own. Every man comes to a fork in the road where he will either accept or deny the discipline he has learned and take it further. Those who will take on the discipline will generally be successful in life, those who deny will generally become unsuccessful.
We find self discipline in many small areas that add up to a greater whole. For instance, have you ever walked into a CEO’s office? Have you seen a movie where a rich person or member of the aristocracy was portrayed in their home or office? The common denominator you will find is that these men of success are orderly. You won’t find crap laying around on their dining room table or in their office. Our external environment is a reflection of our internal state and our internal state is influenced by our surroundings. If we work in an office that is cluttered, unclean and unkempt, we will see a decline in our thought processes. Our thoughts will become more scattered, reflecting the clutter that we see daily. This is why retreat centers tend to be minimalistic in their décor. We strive for a sound mind in a sound body in sound surroundings.
We can also practice self discipline in our eating habits. I will touch more on intermittent fasting in a fitness article at a later date, but the practice of I.F. is extremely valuable in the quest for greater self discipline. Have you ever noticed guys who can’t stop talking? By controlling what we put in our mouths we become much more able to control what comes out of our mouths. Who seems more powerful and in control to you; the guy who cannot control his thoughts and words, or the man who can?
Sometimes we find ourselves at a crossroads. We can take what seems to be the easier road of laziness and indulgence. This road turns bitter when we find ourselves far down the road having accomplished nothing. In the distance we can see the man who took the seemingly more difficult road of self discipline and we see him being successful. Reading, in and of itself, is a fantastic discipline. Not only is it a form of entertainment and relaxation when you read something that you enjoy, but it also works your mind in ways that television never will. The added bonus with reading is that you will also learn things. If you are serious about self discipline then reading about stoic philosophy is an absolute must. The next level of self discipline comes with filtering the material, thinking critically about it and then putting it into action.
Action is the final step, it is the ongoing step. Theory is necessary, but ultimately action is where the rubber will hit the road. Action is what will separate the men from the boys. Action is what separates the doers from the dreamers. Action is what teaches us success and failure. Action is what gives us the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, knowing that we were being proactive and moving forward in a clear concrete way. Action is where we gain that wisdom which is called, “common sense”.
Reading the classics is an unrivaled way to increase manly education. As a matter of fact it was only recently that “education” has done away with studies of the classics. After reading, or rereading them, it is quite easy to see why they have been shelved; it is because they show exemplary masculine role models.
One such example is to be found in the story of Aeneas and Dido. While he was pursuing a great destiny, Aeneas decided to stay with Dido, finding a life of comfort with her. After all, who wouldn’t want to stay. After spending months in the pleasure of her company the founding of his kingdom seemed to fade away.
Being that he was on a supreme mission and a higher calling, the god Jupiter sent Mercury to remind Aeneas of his high calling and the fulfillment of his destiny. Aeneas heeded the call of the gods and forsook Dido and her company and headed off onto his journey once again.
We can often be distracted by women. Many a man has forsaken his dreams, goals and destiny for the life of “comfort”. I would argue that probably most men have. Women will always try to domesticate a man, that is one of the things that they do. Those who give in will live a life of regret, slavery and self loathing. This is not to say that being involved with women is a bad thing, on the contrary it is quite good but it must be tempered and balanced like every other aspect of our lives.
Picture yourself on December 31st, it is about 8pm. The new year is just around the corner. There were several beautiful ladies who waited on your decision about taking them to a new year’s party. You chose to go alone instead. You are getting dressed, standing in front of the mirror looking good in your custom tailored suit. As you stand there adjusting the cuff links on your shirt you ponder the past year. You feel great, you feel confident, you feel at peace, you feel like you accomplished much. You set out to achieve your goals and you are reaping the rewards. You succeeded and you failed. You had times of joy and times of sorrow. You got through it all. Then there were the “friends” who put down your dreams and told you how your plans would fail. Those who put down your dreams are at home drinking beer, eating chips and watching the ball drop in Times Square on the television. You have transcended that, you are living your dreams. It is time to feel good about what you have done. You realize that you actually are becoming the man that you have always wanted to be. You are living your life on purpose.
You are tempted for a moment to just ride the wave and enjoy it. You realize that is the old you talking. You remember that one of the greatest lessons that you have learned is that you must always be moving forward. You are either growing or you are dying. Rather than just taking your successes for what they are, you start to jot down down ways that you can improve on them. You can’t wait for New Year’s Day to come so that you can write out your plans and goals for the new year.
You know that you must always be proactive. You have learned that life is like chess, you must always be thinking several moves ahead. You know yourself, you know that you can easily go back to your old ways and just take the path of least resistance. “No”, you tell yourself, “it doesn’t work like that anymore”. You have broken out of those old patterns of thinking and being reactive.
You decide on ways to be proactive in fitness, and your business ventures. Suddenly you realize a way that you can turn your side business into something even more profitable, allowing you to explore even more entrepreneurial ventures. You find ways to be proactive in dating and your social life. What used to frighten you is now second nature. Now, women actually come to you. You are proactive in your ways of thinking, you think deliberately, useless thoughts have no place in your head.
Now the thought of just sitting back and being reactive is repulsing to you. You put on your suit jacket, make a couple of adjustments, and look in the mirror. You like what you see. It is now time to move forward again.
Every man needs to own a custom tailored 3 piece suit. The 3 piece is the most versatile of suit styles as you can wear it as 3 piece or a standard 2 piece without the vest. Wearing a custom tailored three piece suit to any function makes a man stand out above the rest.
Lets face it, most men do not know how to dress. We have become more and more casual over the years to the point that shorts, t-shirts and tennis shoes have become standard dress for most “guys”. That is fine for “guys” and boys, but it is not worthy of a man. A man needs to know how to look good. Looking good is vastly different than being overly concerned about one’s looks, the classical man is no metrosexual. Knowing how to look good and look sharp is an essential element of being a man. To paraphrase Tom Ford, shorts belong at the beach or at the tennis court. If you are not used to dressing well, then you are at the beginning of a very fruitful journey. The man who dresses well immediately attracts the attention of the opposite sex. The man who dresses well also grabs the attention of passers by and possible business contacts. People will treat you differently when you dress well, it is a difference that you will easily get used to.
The three piece suit will cost you a little more than a two piece, but I encourage you to spend the money for the versatility. If it is your first, or only suit, I would encourage you to go with navy blue or black. These are the two standard colours for men. If you have other suits already you may want to consider a lighter colour such as tan, which is a classic for a summer suit. For your business dealings a pinstripe suit is the ultimate in classical boardroom power.
I will provide a link at the bottom of the page for custom tailored clothing, including three piece suits. You design the suit yourself and it is made just for you. For a custom tailored suit the affordability is unsurpassed. I myself own several suits and custom fitted shirts from this company and am extremely happy with my purchases. Are you not so sure about designing a custom tailored suit? The interactive 3D program allows you to go step by step. You can also add an element of fun to the process and ask one of your lady friends over to help you design the suit. Believe me, they love stuff like that. While she will be helpful, remember that the ultimate decision about your suit is yours and yours alone.
This link will automatically put you at the custom tailored shirt page, at the bottom you will see the navigation menu for other clothing options.
Until next time.
Men build empires, its just one of the things that we do. While the vast majority of us will not be called to build an empire like Caesar or any of the French, British or Russian monarchs, we do need to build our own personal empires. An empire is nothing more than personal growth; we are either growing or we are dying. Even our leisure time must be filled with worthwhile pursuits, gaming is not one of these.
Empire building starts with personal growth and moves out from there. Where do you want your empire to be? What do you want it to be made of? Where do you plan on being financially in one year? Five years? The reason why empire building begins with personal growth is because you must know what you want. The operative word in that phrase is you. What do you want? What does your ideal version of yourself look like? What will it take for you to become him? What are your desires? What are your financial needs and goals?
Once you have your goals in place it is time to get to work. Yes, work….it takes dedication, perseverance and hard work to achieve your goals. Every man should have some business element in his empire building. Ultimately, the goal is to move away from a “job” and into entrepreneurship. Self sufficiency is key. After the initial excitement of a new plan wears off you will be stuck with the reality of the situation, this is where your inner strength and self discipline will make or break you. Even supposed friends will be intimidated by your drive and passion. These same friends will try to talk you out of your dreams, they will laugh at you, scorn you, make fun of you. This is where most men decide that it was a whole lot easier to grab a bag of chips and live vicariously through someone else, either in movies or video games. You are not most men. Most men don’t build empires.
As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Your empire won’t be built in a day either. As time goes by small successes turn into big ones. Then success builds upon success. Success has a smell that women can pick up a mile away. Now you look back on the struggle and pain to get where you are and it seems so minimal, the result was worth it. Now you have arrived, it is time to just put on cruise control and enjoy life? No, a man is always growing. In your growth process you have learned new things about yourself. You have learned new things about the world. You have learned new things about success. You now set your sites on a new territory to conquer for your personal empire and you do it all over again gladly.
To build your empire, you must educate yourself. You must know everything there is to know about your chosen field. The best way to learn is through reading and experience. You must be an avid reader. Not only will you learn from reading, but it will also challenge your language skills as well as critical thinking skills. Take notes of what you read, give yourself examples of ways that you can apply these lessons to your daily life. Ultimately, you will only solidify your learning by practical application. In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki writes that rich people, when employed by others, see employment as a learning opportunity. In other words, watch how the business is run, take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Take notes on possible business opportunities. We can learn from others mistakes so that we do not have to make those same mistakes ourselves.
I wish you all the best in building your empire.